Musings from M.E.

Musings from M.E. is my monthly-ish newsletter. Below you will find a mix of my latest published work; favorite personal essays from years past; book recommendations; good news about writer friends; and random thoughts on matters related to writing and reading.

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Musings from ME


(Not So) Hot Off the Press  i.e., Catching Up

I haven’t done a newsletter since Christmas, and my completed assignments for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums have been piling up. If you’re into animals and/or conservation, take a look!

My Gifted Niece-in Law

When we welcomed Candace Jane Opper into the family, we knew we were gaining a smart, quirky, talented writer who was the perfect wife for Patrick. We also knew she wrote a lot about suicide, an interest and obsession (her word) that began when a middle school classmate took his own life. After many years of writing and research, she won a memoir contest that was sponsored by Kore Press and judged by none other than Cheryl Strayed (!) Two months ago, Certain and Impossible Events finally landed. 
This is what Strayed had to say about it: “Certain and Impossible Events is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s a powerfully original exploration of the many meanings of suicide and a beautifully written memoir of a particular kind of loss. I was impressed with the intellectual curiosity of this book, and also with its emotional rigor. … Certain and Impossible Events is both a clear-eyed tour de force about suicide and an intimate and ultimately poignant portrait of one woman coming to grips with an experience that inexplicably shaped her, Perhaps most of all, I loved the quality of the prose. I was in this talented writer’s thrall from page one.”

I agree with Strayed. The book is unique and masterfully written, and I hope you’ll read it. For more about Candace and her writing, visit her website.

Turns Out I’m a Partisan Librarian

Some of the books that land in my sidewalk library make me shake my head, like a 14-year copy of The Guinness Book of World Records. Some make me nostalgic, like Erich Segal’s Love Story and that culinary 1970’s classic, The Moosewood Cookbook. But there are others that make me pluck them out, march them into the house, and plop them into a box for the thrift store. Can you guess? Two recent ones by Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter.

My reaction to seeing both of them on the same day was so visceral, I didn’t even pause. Out they came. I obviously have some right-leaning library visitors or the books wouldn’t have landed there in the first place. But my conscience wouldn’t let me keep them, so I didn’t. I may lose some conservative patrons and be accused of censorship, but it’s my library and I’ll stock what I want to.

Read My Friend, Marshall Craig

I’m also behind in touting the talent of Marshall Craig, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to catch up with him.

Essay from the Archives

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It’s almost Easter, which is the perfect time to revisit an old favorite that appeared in The Arizona Republic in 2001.  Writing about hrutka, a traditional Slovak Easter food, resulted in an email from a fellow Slovakian who said,  “I can’t believe I just saw the word ‘hrutka’ in my local newspaper.” You never know what’s going to resonate with a reader.
To read this essay click here.

John helps out with the hard part—twisting the cheesecloth filled with the boiling hot liquid.